July 26th, 2010
08:32 AM ET
4 years ago

Dean says Fox News racist for Sherrod coverage

 Dean says Fox News was racist over the way it handled the Shirley Sherrod story.
Dean says Fox News was racist over the way it handled the Shirley Sherrod story.

(CNN) – Howard Dean is charging that Fox News was not only irresponsible with their coverage of the Shirley Sherrod story, but downright racist.

Appearing on the network's Sunday show, the former Democratic National Committee chairman and onetime presidential candidate said Fox should have more thoroughly investigated the edited footage that appeared to portray Sherrod telling an NAACP crowd that she refused to help a farmer because he was white.

"I don't think you're a racist," Dean said to Fox News host Chris Wallace, "but Fox News did something that was absolutely racist. They had an obligation to find out what was really in the clip. They had been pushing a theme of black racism with this phony Black Panther crap and this business and this Sotomayor and all this other stuff."

Wallace responded that Fox did not air the footage until the USDA had already forced Sherrod to resign. Howard Kurtz, a media critic for the Washington Post and a CNN contributor, has noted this is largely true except for comments from host Bill O'Reilly, who called for Sherrod's ouster before the USDA official had formally resigned.

On his Monday show, O'Reilly praised conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart for disseminating the video and said the comments were "simply unacceptable." He added.

"Ms. Sherrod must resign immediately." While the show was tapped at 5 p.m. ET – before Sherrod resigned – it did not air until three hours later at which point she had in fact stepped down.

In an interview with CNN last week, Sherrod said she was told to resign because administration officials feared Fox host Glenn Beck would target the comments on his show later that night.

"It wasn't Fox News that cost Shirley Sherrod her job. It was the scary specter of Glenn Beck," Kurtz said.

Watch: The anatomy of a smear

Still, Dean charged Fox "didn't do your job."

"The tea party called out their racist fringe and I think the Republican Party's got to stop appealing to its racist fringe. And Fox News is what did that. You put that on," the former presidential candidate said.

"Continuing to cater to this theme of minority racism and stressing comments like this – some of which are taken out of context – does not help the country knit itself together," he added.

In a statement obtained by the website Mediaite, FOX News Senior Vice President of News Michael Clemente took aim at Dean's comments: "As we said this past week, some people such as the failed candidate Dean reflexively blame Fox for almost anything."


Filed under: Howard Dean • Popular Posts • Shirley Sherrod
soundoff (221 Responses)
  1. gary

    Given the history of Fox News, it is understandable that there was great fear that Fox news would run with the story and some political consultants believe that you need to respond quickly to this kind of thing. In this case, it was a knee-jerk response that hurt Mrs. Sherrod. If CNN had not probed further and discovered the truth, I'm sure Fox would be all over Mrs. Sherrod and the Administration. Also, notice that most serious journalists at newspapers didn't run with the story.

    July 26, 2010 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  2. Tom C

    Fox news is as guilty as anyone. The white house, secretatry of agriculture nor Fox or any other station did not check the whole story out. The more I am hearing from the Tea Party the less I like them. Please, no more taking context quotes.

    July 26, 2010 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  3. Confused

    I thought Breitbart's clip was there to show the cheering and jeering of NAACP members when Sherrod sounded like she was going to mistreat the White farmer. That point was timely given the NAACP's recent proclamation against the Tea Partiers. Moreover, I heard Sherrod say that racism was the reason people opposed nationalized healthcare. I don't see how Jackson, et al are effectively defending these two facts.

    July 26, 2010 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  4. Scott

    Oh Howard..."Still Crazy after all these years."

    July 26, 2010 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  5. rightsaid

    Of course he speaks the truth. Why is that so hard for people to understand. While not every right winger is racist, many racists find a happy home on the right wing. And several of Fox newsotainers most definitely cater to racists.

    July 26, 2010 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  6. Sarah

    "The failed candidate..." Really, Mr. Clemente? That's a low blow. Why resort to personal attacks instead of trying to defend the actual issue at hand here. Oh yeah, that's because there might just be more than a smidgen of truth to the accusation that extreme right wingers are in fact racists. Is it any wonder the Republican party and the Tea Baggers in particular are in their great majority WASPs? The same people who carried pictures of a watermelon-strewed White House lawn and Obama with a bone through his nose at their rallies? But noooo, they're not racist at all. And sure they may say it's a joke and all in good fun but really that is funny only to racists.

    July 26, 2010 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  7. FreddyFrank

    Nice spin CNN... I suggest everybody watch the interview. Dean was caught off guard when the details came out that the white house fired her before Fox aired anything. MSNBC ran the clip before she was forced to resign. I think we have proven that Dean is not the brightest bulb in the bunch.

    July 26, 2010 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  8. GDMS

    The only group that is raciest is the Democratic Party. They use racism for their own political advantage. Democrats stop using the race card it is stupid and destructive.

    July 26, 2010 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  9. Roger

    Dean is a wingnut. You could tell he could hardly wait to charge fox news as racist. The minute he was introduced he started babbling about fox's coverage. When Chris Wallace asked him if he was aware that fox didn't even cover the story until after she was fired he appeared dumbfounded. After a long silence he just started to ramble some more. I was just happy he didn't stand up and yell YEEHAA.

    July 26, 2010 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  10. JoeC

    Fox long ago abandoned the principles of honest and objective journalism and hitched its wagon to the worst elements currently in our society. Their news coverage, if carefully monitored, shows a sinister pattern of racist spin on even the most minute news reporting. If I were the head of that so-called network, my immediate response would be along the lines of "we'll look into that," rather than the blatantly political attack on the "messenger," howard dean's unsuccessful run at the White House years ago. That leopard's spots are quite clear.

    July 26, 2010 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  11. RH

    Fox may be "pushing a theme of black racism," but that certainly doesn't mean there is no such thing. It's definitely out there, and it's no better than white racism – if anything, it's worse. American blacks of all people should understand how poisonous and small racism is.

    July 26, 2010 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  12. awaitingliberalizationbyCNN

    Old Screaming Dean. What an absolute idiot. Reflects the whole liberal wing of the democratic party (that is all that is left). Race baiting, narcissistic, corrupt, inept, How about that bs the libs pull on Alberto Gonzales? Way to go libs, destroy a person with no evidence. Remember Dean and Obozo are the best the libs can do with no morals or ethics.

    July 26, 2010 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  13. TCM

    yeah, we'll believe the radical, far left, half-crazy Howard Dean...yeah, that man's got credibility...

    July 26, 2010 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  14. Chipster

    What Andrew Breitbart did was despicable; intentionally editing a video to falsely portray Ms. Sherrod. What the Administration did was overreact before knowing the facts. What Fox GOP TV did was what they always do. They spread false and misleading information because their viewers won't support them if they tell the truth. The truth didn't support the agenda required to incite their viewers. Their cash cow is fear and anger. It's all about ratings.

    July 26, 2010 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  15. deuce

    Fox DID do their job though...they stirred up the right into a finger pointing frenzy with little to no idea what the truth actually is.

    July 26, 2010 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  16. annie s

    Thank you Howard Dean! Let's get more people to speak up and spread truth!

    July 26, 2010 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  17. Paul from Phoenix

    Funny, I don't recall Howard Dean calling out Dan Rather for his fake story 1 month before the 2004 election.

    July 26, 2010 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  18. Ed L

    and Howard Dean is perfectly correct......

    July 26, 2010 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  19. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I don't think that Fox is racist. I happen to think that they clearly show their conservative bias and sloppy, half-assed excuse for what they call journalism. If they were a real news, then they would have reviewed the whole speech before making any kind of comment. That would have been responsible. I guess that is what happens when there is nothing but talking heads who blab on and on with no real content.

    July 26, 2010 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  20. JoeD

    Turnabout is fair play–Fox News should demand the resignation of O'Reilly and Beck. They did not do their jobs, and demonstrated bias and irresponsibility that further discredits Faux News' image and reputation.

    July 26, 2010 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  21. Watt S. Important

    Thank you, Howard "Madman" Dean for jumping into this idiotic discussion. People in the US are over Racism and they would be a lot happier if all the idiots in power and in the media focused on creating jobs. The Chinese live in oppression, but they are much happier now because they have an optimistic economic future.. Meanwhile, everybody in our country is sniping over half a sound clip and all sort of other nonsense. Then they dare question the tea party – yea, the tea party has problems, but it's a sign of how fed up everybody is with the entire system. That's how Obama got in, he should rise above this and get us back to work. The party that runs on "Jobs, stupid" will win.

    July 26, 2010 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  22. MARKPAIN

    Fox News is anti Democratic Party in every way possible. The Sherrod thing was just another example.Now watch how many people defend them.That`s what the problem really is and that is the scary part

    July 26, 2010 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  23. Larry

    Dean always has been a loose cannon. Looks like he's finally lost his mind.

    July 26, 2010 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  24. Steve in North Carolina

    I love how every time this administration screws up, they try to blame it on George Bush or Fox News. I'm surprised that so many people still listen (and believe) this propaganda!

    Howard Dean is a maniac!

    July 26, 2010 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  25. Bill

    Want to scream again there Howard.... Going of the deep end does that to you I've noticed.

    July 26, 2010 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
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